Maine Coon

Felis catus

Last updated: January 30, 2023
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff
©

It's the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.

Maine Coon Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Mammalia
Order
Carnivora
Family
Felidae
Genus
Felis
Scientific Name
Felis catus

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Maine Coon Conservation Status

Maine Coon Locations

Maine Coon Locations

Maine Coon Facts

Fun Fact
It's the largest domesticated cat breed in the world.
Distinctive Feature
Large pointed ears with wispy tufts of hair.
Other Name(s)
Coon Cat, Maine Cat, Maine Shag, American Longhair, American Coon Cat, American Forest Cat
Temperament
Intelligent, loving and affectionate
Diet
Omnivore
Average Litter Size
5
Common Name
Gentle Giant
Slogan
Folklore says it's half cat, half raccoon!
Group
Longhair

Maine Coon Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Blue
  • Black
  • White
  • Gold
  • Cream
  • Silver
Skin Type
Hair
Lifespan
10-15 years
Weight
Up to 15lbs for females and 25lbs for males

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The Maine Coon is a domesticated cat breed known as a gentle giant due to its medium to large size contrasting with its gentle, sweet, well-balanced personality. Although it started off as a mouser, it is popular as a family, companion, and therapy pet that is great with children, dogs, and other cats. It is second only to the Persian in popularity.

©A-Z-Animals.com

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Traits: What to Know Before You Buy

Before you buy a Maine Coon, there are some important things you need to know:

  • This is a fluffy, medium-haired cat! You can expect to be brushing yours regularly. With its high grooming needs, you should brush it every day. However, its fur is straight and smooth and does not tend to tangle or knot.
  • It enjoys water. Unlike with other breeds, you will be able to bathe your cat without trouble.
  • The Maine Coon is the largest domesticated cat breed. That means it will probably need a bigger litter box, depending on its size. Also, it is prone to hip dysplasia with age.

You can check out more incredible facts about Maine Coons.

Largest Maine Coon Cat
The Maine Coon is the largest domestic cat breed in the world.

©Sergey Ginak/Shutterstock.com



Breed History

Maine Coon cats could be descended from Siberian forest cats or Norwegian forest cats which were brought by settlers to North America, but their exact origins are unknown. There is also a legend that Marie Antoinette had six of her most treasured Turkish Angora and Siberian cats packed aboard a ship with other important possessions bound for the New World in 1793, fearing her death. This ship, steered by Captain Samuel Clough, landed on the coast of Maine at Wiscasset, where the cats may have been rescued and cross-bred with other cats, or bred in the wild.

A wilder tale is that Maine Coons came about by cross-breeding with raccoons, but that would have been an impossibility, though folks speculated the Maine Coon’s tail was very similar to that of a raccoon. These unusual cats were written about in the 1860s by F.R. Pierce, who owned several. During the same decade, farmers from Maine held a contest called the “Maine State Champion Coon Cat.” They soon became part of other cat shows like one in Boston and one in New York City, both in 1895. In the latter show, a Maine Coon brown tabby named Cosey won the silver collar and a medal for Best in Show. 

Health and Entertainment for your Maine Coon

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While Maine Coons were initially popular, they were forgotten for some years with the introduction of other long-haired breeds in the US. Due to some claiming they had gone extinct in 1950, the Central Maine Cat Club was formed to preserve this unique cat breed and grow it. It wasn’t until 1976 that Maine Coons were approved for championship status. Today, they are the third most popular cat breed in the US, as well as the state cat of Maine.

maine coon relaxing on the bed
One legend links the origin of the Maine Coon to long-haired cats shipped to America in 1793 by Marie Antoinette.

©iStock.com/Larisa Stefanuyk

Personality

The personality of the Maine Coon is such that they’re called the “dog of the cat world.” They have traits of loyalty, sociability, affection, docility, playfulness, and intelligence.

The Maine Coon is curious and patient. This makes it easy to train. This outdoor cat became a working breed to hunt rodents, but it’s also commonly used as a therapy cat.

Although initially timid or reserved around strange people and animals, it can quickly warm up and become friendly. While not a lap cat, it wants to be near people, but it is not overly needy.

It is not vocally loud but makes chirping and trilling noises, which it is known for. Owners can expect responses in the form of these chirps and trills instead of meows.

Maine Coon, is the biggest domesticated breed of cat with a distinctive physical appearance and high level hunting skills
Maine Coons have patient temperaments and have been used as therapy animals.

©Mirt Alexander/Shutterstock.com

Size and Weight

The Maine Coon is a medium to a giant-sized domesticated breed of cat with large and slightly rounded eyes, adding to its size with ear and toe tufts along with medium-long fur. It is one of the oldest natural breeds in North America and the official state cat of Maine, which it is a native of. Hence, it can adapt to harsh conditions, featuring a heavily boned, muscular build and a smooth, shaggy coat. Its coat is long on the neck, tail, and under the belly but medium on the body.

The size of the Maine Coon tends to be medium, large, or giant. On average, the Maine Coon is large, especially the male. While both males and females can weigh 8-12lbs, males average 15-25lbs and females 10-15lbs. This makes females medium-sized and males large to giant-sized. Adults of both sexes are on average 10-16 inches and up to 38 inches in length, including the tail, which can be up to 14 inches in length.

Tallest cats
The size of the Maine Coon is either medium, large, or giant, but on average they are large, especially the males.

©iStock.com/Tylinek

Price

The price of a Maine Coon cat for sale depends on where you get it from. From a rescue, the price is the standard adoption fee. From respected breeders, the price for adults is $1,600-2,000, with show-quality cats costing more than pet-quality ones. From backyard breeders, the cost can be as low as $700.

From a reputable dealer, a Maine Coon will usually cost between $1600 and $2000.

©Ankord – Public Domain

Kittens

The price of Maine Coon kittens for sale from breeders is $800-2,000. Show-quality kittens for sale cost more than pet-quality ones or those from backyard breeders. If you decide to get your Maine Coon kitten from a rescue, it will likely be a mix, and the cost will be the standard adoption fee. Maine Coon mothers have an average of 5 kittens per litter.

Three red and two dark Maine Coon kitten sitting on the windowsill
Female Maine Coons have an average of five kittens per litter.

Lifespan

These cats live 9-13 years, with an average lifespan of 12.5 years. A few examples of health issues that can impact their quality of life or their lifespan are arthritis, dental health issues, kidney problems, and cancer. To lessen the risk of health issues with a Maine Coon, consider a respected breeder who will have done a health screening of its parents and can provide you with a certificate of health for your adoption. A Maine Coon named Rubble became one of the oldest cats ever at 31 years old.

Pumpkin Pet Insurance
The life expectancy of a Maine Coon is from 9-13 years.

©iStock.com/krblokhin

Breed vs. Mixed

These cats have specific coat color and pattern standards as purebred, but some of these traits carry over into the Maine Coon mix. As a result, the Maine Coon mix has unique diluted coat colors resulting from hybridization, often with the Siamese or Abyssinian: Chocolate, cinnamon, fawn, caramel, apricot, lilac, and lavender. Unique coat patterns are Abyssinian type ticked tabby (agouti), Himalayan pattern, or either of those mixed with white.

Types of Maine Coon Cats and Colors

These cats are divided into different types depending on coat color and pattern, with there being 84 possible types and 75 officially recognized. Here are some of the most common ones.

  • Solid color — Black, blue, cream, white, silver, brown, golden, and red (orange).
  • Parti-color — Tortoiseshell, calico (tricolor), bluecream, and tortie/white. This combination is usually only in females, who can inherit more than one color.
  • Bi-color — Parti-color, but with one color being white, such as black/white, blue/white, cream/white, and red (orange)/white.
  • Tabby — Striped cats with patterns such as classic (swirls with a butterfly pattern on the shoulders), mackerel (narrow, parallel stripes), spotted, and ticked (several bands of color on each hair and barring on the legs and tail). Brown tabby is the most common, while the ticked pattern is accepted only by certain cat associations’ breed standards.
  • Tabby with white
  • Shaded (smoked)
  • Shaded (smoked) with white
Norwegian Forest Cat laying outside in some flowers
The Maine Coon is sometimes confused with the Norwegian Forest Cat.

©Elisa Putti/Shutterstock.com

Maine Coon vs. Norwegian Forest Cat

The Maine Coon’s origins aren’t exactly known, but it’s said to be related to the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Siberian. Its ancestors were likely Marie Antoinette’s Turkish Angora (or Siberian) cats, brought by Captain Charles Coon in the 1800s. These long-haired cats then mated with short-haired breeds, resulting in the medium-haired shaggy coat.

That being said, there are some subtle differences between the Maine Coon and the Norwegian Forest Cat. For one thing, the Norwegian Forest cat’s fur is even and silkier. There is no ruff around the neck. Secondly is the difference in the head and facial features. The Main Coon has large, slightly rounded eyes, a squarish head, high cheekbones, and a friendly expression, whereas the Norwegian Forest cat has almond-shaped eyes, a triangular head, a flatter nose, and a more serious expression. Lastly is the difference in behavior and personality. The Maine Coon is between independent and needy and enjoys playing and being around people, while the Norwegian Forest cat tends to prefer relaxing alone.

Domestic cats consume cat food, rodents, birds, and fruits.

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About the Author

Abby Parks has authored a fiction novel, theatrical plays, short stories, poems, and song lyrics. She's recorded two albums of her original songs, and is a multi-instrumentalist. She has managed a website for folk music and written articles on singer-songwriters, folk bands, and other things folk-music oriented. She's also a radio DJ for a folk music show. As well as having been a pet-parent to rabbits, birds, dogs, and cats, Abby loves seeking sightings of animals in the wild, and has witnessed some more exotic ones such as: Puffins in the Farne Islands, Southern Pudu on the island of Chiloe (Chile), Penguins in the wild, and countless wild animals in the Rocky Mountains (Big Horn Sheep, Mountain Goats, Moose, Elk, Marmots, Beavers).

Maine Coon FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Maine Coons herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Maine Coons are Omnivores, meaning they eat both plants and other animals.

What Kingdom do Maine Coons belong to?

Maine Coons belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Maine Coons belong to?

Maine Coons belong to the class Mammalia.

What phylum to Maine Coons belong to?

Maine Coons belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Maine Coons belong to?

Maine Coons belong to the family Felidae.

What order do Maine Coons belong to?

Maine Coons belong to the order Carnivora.

What genus do Maine Coons belong to?

Maine Coons belong to the genus Felis.

What type of covering do Maine Coons have?

Maine Coons are covered in hair.

How many babies do Maine Coons have?

The average number of babies a Maine Coon has is 5.

What is an interesting fact about Maine Coons?

Folklore says Maine Coons are half cat, half raccoon!

What is the scientific name for the Maine Coon?

The scientific name for the Maine Coon is Felis catus.

How much are Maine coon cats?

Maine Coon cats can cost anywhere from $700-2000.

How big are Maine coon cats?

The size of a Maine Coon cat is medium, large, or giant, but usually large.

Are Maine Coon cats good pets?

Yes, Maine Coon cats are excellent pets and great with children, dogs, and other cats.

Why is my Maine Coon so aggressive?

It is not typical behavior of Maine Coon cats to be aggressive, and most breeders do not have this issue. If your cat is a rescue, the cat could have been previously abused or neglected or become stressed from the adoption process. However, it can be socialized. On the other hand, if your cat is suddenly being aggressive, it could be an underlying health issue, overstimulation, a perceived threat from other pets or territory, boredom, family tensions, or protective maternal instinct.

How long do Maine coon cats live?

9-13 years with an average of 12.5 years.

What's the difference between a Ragdoll and a Maine Coon?

The main differences between a Ragdoll and a Maine Coon cat include their size, facial features, coats, personalities, and environmental requirements.

What do Maine Coon cats eat?

Maine Coons can eat between 190 and 875 calories per day depending on their size. Keep diets to protein intake at 35% to 50% and a diet that’s limited in cabs with a moderate amount of fat.

What are the differences between a Ragamuffin and a Main Coon?

The Ragamuffin and Maine Coon differ in size, temperament, and breed origin.

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.

Sources
  1. Pet Finder, Available here: https://www.petfinder.com/cat-breeds/maine-coon/
  2. Hill's Pet, Available here: https://www.hillspet.com/cat-care/cat-breeds/maine-coon
  3. The Cat Fancier's Assiciation, Available here: https://cfa.org/maine-coon-cat/
  4. Epic Pet Club, Available here: https://epicpetclub.com/how-much-does-a-maine-coon-cat-cost/
  5. Spend On Pet, Available here: https://spendonpet.com/maine-coon-cat-cost/
  6. Maine Coon Cat Nation, Available here: https://www.maine-coon-cat-nation.com/coat.html
  7. World Cat Congress, Available here: https://www.worldcatcongress.org/wp/cat_breed_comp_mco.php
  8. Maine Coons, Available here: https://mainecoonsite.com/maine-coon-colors-and-patterns/
  9. Maine Coon Expert, Available here: https://mainecoonexpert.com/how-to-tell-if-your-maine-coon-cat-is-a-purebred-or-mix/
  10. Maine Coon, Available here: https://mainecoon.org/category/health/
  11. Maine Coon Central, Available here: https://mainecooncentral.com/are-maine-coon-cats-aggressive/

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